To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions

Feliz Navidad

Posted on Dec 6, 2016 by Lucy Barry, 2016


Feliz Navidad:

A Bilingual Christmas

Music – José Feliciano, 1970


The congestion of traffic slows this time of the year like in any other place. The lampposts have silver, gold and red tinsel hanging as the sun reflects like mirrors in the sun. The songs sung are both in English and Spanish. José Feliciano’s tune, Feliz Navidad is played so many times that even the non-Spanish speaker can sing the tune.  The malls are filled with minstrels conveying the relentless joy of the season.

Long lines fill the Mexican market places as the anticipation of Christmas Eve rises with a flood. The lines are blocks and blocks long as the costumers arrive for their supply of tamales or the premade masa for the tamales. My mother and father would frequent such places: it was a testing of patience and endurance. Later on our family would take weeks to make the tamales. My aunts and uncles would form an assembly line of help.  My mom would make a huge pot of spicy red chile with the meat fillings. The red chile sauce was combined with shredded pork or chicken. My cousins would have their duties as well: cleaning the house and making other types of food.

Christmas Eve was commemorated with the following: the original Christmas plays are acted in “Las Posadas.” Las Posadas (“The Inns” in Spanish) depicted shepherds searching for an inn in preparation of the Christ Child’s birth. The drama would continue for nine days. Finally, a willing host would open his home. The party concluded with the breaking of the piñata, a birthday cake for Jesus, refried beans, enchiladas, chocolate made with chile and the exchange of gifts. In our home, the attendance of mass was the requirement for the exchange of gifts. We would sing Christmas songs and in the evening we would fill sand into paper bags with small candles to make luminarios. The Rocky Mountains of El Paso flamed bright with the lighting of the star of Bethlehem, and the luminarios glowed like the flame of God burning in our hearts filled with the glory of God and the humble birth of Jesucristo, the savior of our hearts and homes.

 Lucy Barry, 2016

Expressions Writing Ministry

See All Letters >